Jaguars need more receiving options for rookie Minshew
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars have to find more options for rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew.
New Orleans clamped down on burgeoning receiver DJ Chark in its 13-6 victory at Jacksonville on Sunday, and the Jaguars failed to adjust to the Saints' two-man scheme.
The Saints bracketed Chark, who entered the game as the AFC's leading receiver, and played man-to-man coverage everywhere else. They kept Minshew in the pocket and gambled that Jacksonville wouldn't be able to win one-on-one matchups or exploit the middle of the field.
The Jaguars (2-4) looked lost most of the game, managing 11 first downs, a season-low 226 yards and just two field goals.
It could serve as a blueprint on how to defend Jacksonville as well as a wake-up call for the Jaguars , who play at winless Cincinnati (0-6) this Sunday.
"I'll take full responsibility for that in my room," Conley said. "We have to be ready for that. We can't blink. We can't hesitate. We have to play fast. We didn't play fast enough for (Minshew). We didn't get open fast enough."
Minshew completed 14 of 29 passes for 163 yards and an interception, his worst outing since replacing Nick Foles (broken collarbone) in the season opener.
Chark finished with three receptions for 43 yards. Conley was held without a catch for the first time this season. Westbrook caught three passes for 53 yards.
"We've got to do a good job of scheming things up and getting guys open," coach Doug Marrone said. "That's where it comes down to us."
Leonard Fournette had 118 yards from scrimmage, grinding out yards on the ground and in the air. He ran 20 times for 72 yards and had six receptions for 46 yards. He failed to break a long run for the first time in four games.
Marrone blamed the team's third-down woes (4 of 14) for Fournette not getting more touches.
"It's very difficult to get a run-game going when you're not making third downs," he said.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The tight end position.
Jacksonville already lost James O'Shaughnessy (knee) for the season and could be without Geoff Swaim (concussion) for several weeks. The team signed Ben Koyack off the street last week and has Seth DeValve, but it's clear the Jags need Oliver to get healthy.
Oliver, a third-round draft pick out of San Jose State, suffered a "significant" hamstring injury during practice on Aug. 1. He returned to practice late last month but has yet to make his NFL debut.
Linebacker Najee Goode made his first start with Jacksonville and played well. He finished with six tackles, including a sack, as the Jags allowed 104 yards rushing.
Goode replaced benched rookie Quincy Williams in the fourth quarter at Carolina last week. Jacksonville surrendered 285 yards rushing to the Panthers, the second most in the franchise history, and Williams was blamed for many of the defense's gap-integrity issues.
Minshew Mania has been silenced, at least for a week.
Minshew's struggles came on the same day the Jaguars, in conjunction with the NFL, handed out more than 30,000 "Minshew mustaches" at the gates. It also came with a large number of people from his hometown — Brandon, Mississippi — on hand for the "Brandon Bowl."
Minshew and Saints linebacker Demario Davis both graduated from Brandon High School and are two of four NFL players from the town just east of Jackson.
Minshew and Davis exchanged a hug and jerseys after the game.
Receiver Marqise Lee, who missed all of last season after tearing three ligaments in his left knee, injured his right foot in the third quarter and had to be helped to the locker room.
51.4 — Minshew's QB rating. It was more than double that over his first five games.
It might be time to put disgruntled cornerback Jalen Ramsey on injured reserve.